Winter Greens with Fennel, Grapefruit and Beet

[Winter Greens with Fennel, Grapefruit and Beet is vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free, yeast-free, and low glycemic. Suitable for Stage 2 and beyond on an anti-candida diet.]

vegan, gluten-free fennel and beet salad on rickiheller. com

There are just some things that get better with age. No, I don’t mean as they age (like a fine wine, or George Clooney); I mean things that are perceived as better once you age.

Take a pair of comfortable shoes, for example. I can well remember back in my 30s, buying the cutest-ever pair of pink patent leather (yes, you read that right: pink) T-strap pumps (sort of like these, except better looking). I got them to complement a pair of pink and mint green checked capri pants for an evening out with one of my male friends from university (on whom I had a major crush, unbeknownst to him–let’s just call him “MC”). In my 30-something world, it seemed imperative to wear something fetching, comfort be damned.

I donned the shoes, departed the university residence where I lived, and began my usual jaunt across Bloor Street from Yonge to Spadina to meet him. On a normal day, that walk would have taken about 12 minutes; that day, it took more than 20, and by the tail end, my feet were in agony: I shuffled painfully, enduring a sense of feet bound in Chinese slippers as my toes cramped and throbbed. I could practically feel the bunions developing on my big toes with each excruciating step.

Yet for some reason, I persisted and wore those shoes for the remainder of the evening, right up until the point when MC dumped me (crush entirely unrequited) to catch the subway at 1:30 AM. Needless to say, I never wore those shoes again.

These days? I opt for low heels (preferably rubber soles, thank you very much) and don’t even scoff at (gasp) Naturalizers if need be. In my (50-something) world, comfort always trumps vanity.

Candida-friendly, vegan, fennel, beet and grapefruit salad on

Then there’s music. I cringed at classical in my teens and into my twenties (in fact, enough to keep me away from certain locations), but now I live with someone who listens to classical every single night. When I was younger, I loathed having to witness romantic displays between my mom and dad when they celebrated birthdays or anniversaries. Nowadays, I crave just that from the HH.

Or, take food. When I was a kid, I detested all of the following: cheesecake (seriously), eggnog, beets, nuts (all kinds), coconut. All it took were a few decades (plus a plethora of dietary restrictions courtesy of candida) and–boom!–these days, I love all of those foods.

Another later-in-life culinary crush of mine is fennel. For years I avoided it, not quite appreciating the subtle licorice essence and crispy crunch of the sliced bulb. But it was just my palate that needed a few more years to mature. After trying it a few times since I started this blog, I’ve come to love it, too. In fact, I now think there’s nothing quite like thinly sliced fennel in a fresh salad, or even caramelized fennel in a veggie loaf. Today’s recipe contains a few other foods I’ve come to enjoy in recent years, too, with radicchio and beets complementing the fennel. It’s a super-easy and quick recipe, and one that looks beautiful, too; perfect for a post-holiday meal.

Even if you think you don’t like fennel, give this one a try. Or, you could just waitย  few years and see if your taste buds have matured by then. (Just kidding. I know your taste buds are perfectly mature already. And besides, the material on this blog is nothing if not 100% mature all the time–right?). ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and if you (still) don’t like fennel, you can always sub finely shredded cabbage instead.

Vegan, sugar-free, grainfree fennel, grapefruit and beet salad recipe

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This post is shared at Savoring Saturdays and Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Allergy Free Wednesdays.

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  1. That’s a beautiful salad Ricki. Fennel, grapefruit, and beet sounds like one tasty combo!

  2. I am still waiting for my tastebuds to mature when it comes to raw fennel – though I can appreciate it very well when cooked. We had state elections today and it has occurred to me that it has taken me years to be able to understand politics a little – though the more I understand the more I despair. But I do love a healthy salad and have started to come around to grapefruit (one of the things I hated as a child because I only ever saw it as part of my mum’s diet food)

    • That’s so funny about grapefruit being “diet food”! True in my house, too, but we all loved grapefruit anyway. I liked cooked fennel before raw, so keep at it. . . taste buds may change. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Or, just go with the cabbage option!).

  3. I love fennel; this looks delicious! I have also always loved heels. My mom let me wear Naturalizer’s low-ish pumps when I was a pre-teen and early teenager before I graduated to higher heels and now I wear 4-5″ heels daily! But, I’m a petite 5’2″ and they give me some much-appreciated height. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Hey Vegyogini!! So nice to see your name pop up here again! Hope you’re doing well and had a great Thanksgiving. And wow–I’m not that much taller than you (5’4-1/2″), but I was never able to wear heels, even as a teen. My feet just won’t go that way! But I’m used to it now. . . . ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Wowza! Really, really liked it. BF did too. I think the lime tied it all together (better than a lemon would’ve).

    Didn’t have any sunflower seeds (weird; did I eat them all?) so I substituted a couple walnuts; it worked.

    Thanks, Ricki, for another great recipe!

    • Yay! Glad you enjoyed it, Carolyn. I think walnuts would be great with this salad, too–sunflower seeds are nice to keep it nut-free if that’s what you prefer. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I think I’m on a lime kick these days–all my dressings seem to have lime instead of lemon lately!


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